The Strong Roots Movement,is a non-profit sustainability based organization that brings organic edible garden beds to under-served elementary schools and at risk-youth centers, to help teach the upcoming generation how to be green,organic, and sustainable. Now, it has expanded to three elementary schools in the Miami Dade district and has become a student-organization on campus at UF, with over 4 at risk-youth centers in Gainesville. My mission is to provide fresh food for people in need by supporting and encouraging the establishment of gardens on unused land and space while increasing diversity, raising awareness for health and wellness, and inspiring and educating youth,adults and seniors to create an economically sustainable system to uplift communities around the globe.This project aims to tackle the lack of fresh foods in low-income communities.
We believe in empowering people and transforming lives.
Our project tackles a wide variety of issues found in our community, so there is a variety of ways we can measure our impact.
First, once the produce we grow is ready to be harvested and given to either the students to take home for their parents to cook with or given to the cafeteria to use in the school lunch for the day , that is an obvious indication that the garden beds and the effort to provide organic, nutritious produce to kids living in "food deserts" was successful.
Furthermore, after we work with teachers and faculty at the schools/centers to develop environmental educational lesson plans to teach to the students, we can tell by the students reactions to learning new material how excited they are to have this opportunity.
Additionally, the garden beds and tending to them are a good form of therapy for the students who live in harmful environmental exposures, such as air pollution, which often occurs in communities facing SES stressors including deteriorating housing, poor access to health care, high unemployment, crime, and poverty, which may exacerbate negative health effects. Once the students are each given a seedling to plant, and are given the responsibility to take care of it and watch it develop into life, it really benefits the students.
Also, once we install the garden beds, we plant milkweed (which is the main food source for monarch butterflies) which instantly attracts monarch butterflies, which almost instantly brightens the entire mood of the campus as well as beautifies it by providing lush pre-sprouted seedlings.
Another indicator we use to measure the impact our project has made is when we see the relationship and bonds develop between the volunteers and the students that we bring ht garden beds to. Over time, the students open up to the volunteers and work side by side on the garden bed, not only gaining a hands-on science experiment but also developing a sense of having a role model and someone to look up to.
We will collaborate by reaching out to under-served elementary schools and at-risk youth centers in the surrounding community to bring the community together, to unify us through the power of obtaining knowledge. We will also reach out to UF students on campus for those who are interested in volunteering on the garden beds and engaging with the students at these schools/ at-risk youth centers.